ePetition details

Save the 285 bus route Hawkenbury to Tunbridge Wells town centre

We the undersigned petition the council to ensure that the 285 bus route is supported financially so that it can continue operating on weekdays. The current operator is ending the service in early April. This is the only bus route serving Hawkenbury and it provides an essential link with the town centre shops, schools and station.

The loss of the service will leave many elderly and disabled people with no access to their town centre for food shopping. They will have no means of connecting with bus services to Pembury Hospital or of getting to their GP surgery. Schoolchildren will be unable to get to school by public transport. Extra car traffic will be generated. It will have a devastating effect on many people. Whilst passenger numbers reduced during the pandemic, they are now recovering and it makes no sense to cut this essential service. The Government has stated that it wants to level up bus services outside London and the loss of the 285 is totally at odds with this strategy.

This ePetition ran from 02/03/2022 to 22/06/2022 and has now finished.

1193 people signed this ePetition.

Council response

Sent on behalf of David Brazier

Dear Ms O’Connell

I write in respect of the petition submitted in response to the possible withdrawal of the 285 bus service.

As you may be aware the combined impacts of the pandemic on passenger numbers together with rising costs of fuel and labour are creating an unprecedented volume of bus reductions and withdrawals. At the same time, financial pressures on KCC mean that our ability to intervene and save services is incredibly limited which caused the potential for the loss of this service.

Happily, in this instance, our officers were able to make use of funding provided by AXA Insurance and through the planning process to make an arrangement to retain the 285 service for the immediate future.

As such, in this instance, we are no longer treating your petition through the usual process that would apply but I did want to respond to confirm the status of the service.

I trust this confirmation is welcome.

David Brazier
County Member, Sevenoaks Rural North East Division
Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport
Kent County Council